The safest way to bank online

Cash isn’t always readily available and may not be the most convenient option for many people. The alternative is banking online! Online banking has made life easier and more convenient for many people. But it also brings with it cyber-crime. This should not stop you from making use of online banking, this means you need to take extra precaution when transacting online. Here’s how to do internet banking safely, ensuring you’re protected against cyber-crime.

  1. Be careful of Wi-Fi hotspots

    It’s safer to use your cellular network when banking online. However, with the cost of data increasing, you may constantly be on the lookout for public spaces where Wi-Fi is free and accessible. While this may save you a few cents, it also makes you vulnerable to fraud, especially if you’re making online transactions on your banking app, or internet banking.

    You can protect yourself and your bank accounts by first ensuring that your transactions are done in private; make sure there’s no one around/behind you. Also make sure the address on the browser starts with “https.” The “s” signals that the page is secure and safe to use.

  2. Two or more step authentication

    When logging in to your online banking profile, make sure that you register for an additional way of verifying yourself. Instead of just asking for a username and password, your banking app or internet banking profile should also ask you to provide either your fingerprint or to answer a few personal questions in order to verify the authenticity of the person requesting to log into your internet banking profile.

    Another way to verify that you’re the person logging in would be through a PIN code that is sent via SMS to your phone. More modern and technologically advanced cellphones allow for face recognition as a form of authentication.

  3. Be password savvy

    How often do you change your password? Many people forget or simply choose not to change passwords. But making this a regular practice will help keep your online banking information and bank accounts safe.

    The most common password combinations may be birthdates, names of partners or children. This, however, puts you at risk because fraudsters can use your personal information against you. The more complicated your password is, the less likely you are to become a victim of cyber-crime. A mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters all makes for a complex password that’s difficult for anyone to guess.

    Lastly, don’t use the same username and password for online banking as you do for your email account and social media profiles.

  4. Set up alerts

    At some point, you’ve received a text message when a transaction goes off on your account. This is a great example of banking online safely. Request alerts via phone calls, emails or text messages from your bank, whenever there’s a login to your online banking profile, and even for every transaction. These alerts may be annoying, but they will go a long way in ensuring you’re protected.

    Should you receive a suspicious alert, you need to immediately contact your bank to report this. If you have not set up alerts yet, then regularly scrutinise your bank statements to check and report any irregular transactions.

  5. Guard against phishing

    Phishing is when criminals use a form of electronic communication to try and extract sensitive information like usernames, passwords and credit card details. To protect yourself, make sure you don’t click on suspicious links. If you need to access your online banking profile, rather type the URL for your bank into the internet browser. First check that you are on the real site before using any personal information.

    A phishing email will ask you to click on a link to internet banking to enter your credentials. Your bank will never ask you to do this. If you do receive an email like this, report fraud attempts of this nature to your bank immediately.

Practice these online banking tips to keep your bank accounts and personal information safe, be digitally savvy and aware.

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